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Shoigu calls for Russian solution to small aircraft for Siberia's far-flung outposts

By 0 and 0 and 0
12 October 2012


AN2, Swiss Pilatus and German Dornier - what to go for? 

Governor of Moscow Region Sergei Shoigu has lobbied President Vladimir Putin over providing small planes to reach the world's most remote towns and villages. 

'Given that the Moscow Region town of Zhukovsky is an aviation sector centre with a number of production companies manufacturing experimental and serial production aircraft, we want to establish a small aircraft centre there so as to develop this segment of the industry,' he told the Kremlin leader.

'A number of projects have been drafted for reviving Russia's small aircraft sector and increasing service life of existing aircraft to 7,000 hours. 

'There is demand all around the country for this, and our region has an interest in these projects as they would make use of our research centres and technical specialists. 

'Moscow Region has entire towns that were involved in developed aviation and space equipment and you know that we have the capability for carrying out these new projects.'

He urged the president: 'With your support we would like to establish a big centre that would provide the country with small aircraft and aircraft for the Far North, aircraft that can land on water or ice. 

'The Soviet Union had such models and we need them still today for our medical and polar aviation and for the needs of Siberia and the Far East. Of course we hope to put the Moscow Region's scientific and industrial potential to work here.'

Shoigu, formerly Russia's emergencies minister, was born in the Tyva republic of Siberia. 

The president told him: 'Excellent, let's discuss this in more detail.'

The government has promised subsidies to ensure that planes can fly to outlying towns and villages across Siberia. 

Deputy premier Arkady Dvorkovich said in September: 'A mechanism will be worked out for subsidising local and regional air services, which should become effective from next year. I mean air services between regional capitals both within one federal district and between neighbouring ones.'

He said at the time: 'There will be no new state projects. We will subsidise the market and we will basically subsidise tickets, which will allow companies to operate in this market and order planes.'

There were many small  planes in the world, he said,  and 'anyone can make them. It could be a small business and then it enters the market, it may prove success, if everything works out well'.

The deputy premier said that 'potential demand and preliminary orders from both state agencies and private companies for different types of aircraft in the next eight to ten years will be brought together and consolidated'.

He earlier suggested options for the small planes for 15 to 50 passengers vital to supplying Siberian regions. 

One could be for Russia to start manufacturing Swiss Pilatus and German Dornier planes.

Another is to upgrade the Soviet-era An-2 workhorse plane with new foreign engines to extend their service life by 7-10 years.

'We will see which options would be the best and discuss the prices,' he said. 

Comments (1)

I needed to fly from Novosibirsk to Krasnoyarsk recently - 700 km, so an overnight train you are ready for it. The only flight option that exists was fully booked. So options were to pay $500-$700 and fly via Moscow - ridiculous. Siberia is crying for local aviation.
Natasha , Novosibirsk
15/10/2012 13:50

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